Join us as we travel to the beautiful and secluded Monastery of Christ in the Desert to sit down with Berkeley Merchant, brewer & manager at Abbey Brewing Co.—makers of Monk's Ale and other fine beers that are carrying the tradition of monastic brewing into the 21st century. Our conversation is a deep dive into the history and significance of that tradition, the story of New Mexican hops (which they cultivate), and the origins of the monastery itself, with enough beautiful desert imagery and wild horses to keep the non-beer nerd interested.
Follow the links for more information on the brewery (like where to find Monk’s Ale) and the monastery (including how to stay there!).
A big THANK YOU to Berkeley Merchant and all the brothers of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert for being so generous...
We recently traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to right a wrong we committed the last time we were there: not going to the Mai-Kai. Opened on December 28, 1956, the Mai-Kai is one of the few remaining "Grand Polynesian Palaces of Tiki" still in operation today. Their Polynesian show is the longest running of its kind in the country! Join us as we finally get to scratch our tropical itch.
A very educational chat with the impressively-bearded and incredibly-named Joe Head, co-owner and bartender at The Century Bar in downtown Dayton, Ohio. For those of you who don't know, this is the city where Lauren and I grew up and the bar at which we developed our first embryonic love affair with spirits. With over 300 whiskies on the backbar at any given time (largely dedicated to bourbon) and a staff made up entirely of well-versed aficionados, this place is a curious drinker’s paradise. Since leaving Ohio, Lauren and I have traveled extensively, separately and together, living in other cities and even other countries. Along the way we have learned a fair bit more about spirits than we could have ever dreamed back then. We’ve also picked up a few of our own industry credentials, but w...
Rum, in the United States at least, is generally understood to be a practically neutral distillation of sugar or sugar by-products (such as molasses), almost indistinguishable from vodka save for a bit of sweetness due to residual or added sugar.* Occasionally this clear spirit is turned into a brown spirit with the addition of caramel coloring and a little spice (or spice flavor) and advertised as being really good with Coke.
Rhum agricole, on the other hand, is…different. Almost exclusively a product of the French Caribbean, it is made—by strictly enforced legal definition—from a single distillation of fresh-pressed sugarcane juice and nothing else (well, yeast, but that can’t be helped). The finished product may contain no additives whatsoe...
We were very fortunate to sit down with Oron Benary, owner and head mead-maker at Brothers Drake Meadery in Columbus, Ohio, to talk about sustainability, caffeine-withdrawal, and the lost history of humanity’s oldest manufactured tipple. In addition to being incredibly passionate about his work—and the impact that work has on his community—Oron was fantastically, refreshingly* humble, never missing an opportunity to remind us (and a later tour group) that he is “not that good.” He’s being modest (his stuff is fantastic), but I get it. Let me explain:
Mead-making, despite its long history (evidence of manufacture dates to around 7000 BC) and rich pedigree is decidedly a lost art—meaning that the most recent batch of renegade mead-makers, of which Oron is a part, are largely grasping in the d...
A behind-the-scenes look at highly acclaimed and helplessly experimental High Wire Distilling in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Co-owner and distiller-extraordinaire Scott Blackwell spent the day guiding us through the philosophy and creative process responsible for the likes of Jimmy Red Bourbon (made from indigenous Lowcountry red corn), local sugarcane rhum agricole, and Bradford watermelon brandy.
We were incredibly fortunate to get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of Brothers Drake, an innovative meadery (yes, you read that right*) in Columbus, Ohio that is helping return humanity's oldest alcoholic beverage to its rightful place in our glasses.
Full article, based on our interview with owner and head mead maker, Oron Benary** here.
*Further reinforcement of the rarity of that term: it keeps auto-correcting to “meadowy."
**Keeps auto-correcting to "Iron Binary," which is an excellent name for a Nerdcore metal band.